Fake Martin Carthy singles

30 May 2017

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 30 May 2017

This isn’t a post about bootleg or pirate releases – that may provide an interesting subject for a future post but this is something altogether different. This concerns the kind of fake single I recently posted about on this site’s Facebook page. I speculated as to what, in an imaginary parallel universe where 7-inch singles were part of Martin’s standard output in the pre-CD era, would have been the perfect single from his 1960s to 1980s output. To illustrate my post, and just for a bit of fun, I mocked up some artwork to show what my initial choice – Three Jolly Sneaksmen – might have looked like on 7-inch vinyl.

Having thought a little more I concluded that it would also have been totally remiss to have not released Scarborough Fair in 1965 had singles rather than albums been the common currency in folk music. I mocked up another illustration before it occurred to me that it might have been interesting if all five labels that issued solo albums by Martin during this period had also released accompanying singles. It was a short step from there to me attempting to put together a further three illustrations to complete the set.

This project – if you can call it that – has just been a bit of fun so below are my five fake Martin Carthy singles with some brief thoughts on why I think they would have made great releases and notes on the sources used to replicate the period label and cover artworks. Production and publishing credits would have all been correct at the time of original release and where catalogue number prefixes are used they are true to the various labels (although the actual catalogue numbers are invented).


‘Scarborough Fair’ (1965) Fontana Records
Taken from the album ‘Martin Carthy’ TL5269
Fake Single - SF1965
The archetypal 60s Carthy track from his first album would surely have been an obvious choice as a single. It might have also provided the perfect foil for Simon & Garfunkel’s version that Simon famously learned/borrowed/stole (delete as applicable) directly from Martin. Simon’s version may be much better known now but in 1965 it wouldn’t appear on record for another year and took three years to emerge as a single.

The label is based on existing Fontana labels from the period. The sleeve is fairly closely based on an existing Fontana sleeve from around this time (or possibly slightly earlier) with a change of colour to match the label and a couple of additions to heighten the period feel. The ‘sample record’ sticker is standard for promo/non-sale Fontana and Philips items from this period.


Cold Haily Windy Night (1971) Philips Records
Taken from the album ‘Landfall’ 6308 048Fake Single - CHWN71There are several unaccompanied songs amongst the 10 tracks on ‘Landfall’, which is perhaps not the most appropriate material for single release. Of the guitar-based songs this is a strong standout that Martin would also perform at around the same time during his first period with Steeleye Span. This has always been a favourite and was an obvious choice from this album for me.

The label is the standard Philips Records promo type and based on the ‘PHILIPS’ typography is from around this period but could also be a little earlier. The sleeve is not based on any known design although the ‘PHILIPS’ logo is about the same size and placed in roughly the same place as it appears on a number of known sleeves. The text ‘The Records of the Century’ and ‘PRODUCTS OF PHILIPS RECORDS LIMITED’ appear on some existing sleeves, in the case of ‘The Records of the Century’ in a slightly different typeface.


Famous Flower of Serving Men (1972) Peg Records
Taken from the album ‘Shearwater’ PEG 12Fake Single - FFSM72This iconic track from the underrated (and currently unavailable) ‘Shearwater’ album would have been well deserving of the single treatment, if only to test the patience of DJs across the country! When this track appeared on Peg Records’ 8-track tape version of the album it was so long it had to be split across two of the available tracks. On my imaginary version I’ve avoided this by making it play at 33⅓ rpm.

The label is based on existing contemporaneous Peg singles. The sleeve is designed from scratch using a simple inverted repeat of the ‘PEG’ logo to give a period effect.


Three Jolly Sneaksmen (1974) Deram Records
Taken from the album ‘Sweet Wivelsfield’ SML1111Fake Single - TJS74Taken from what is perhaps another underrated album – certainly Martin has been less than complimentary about it at various times – this is one of several standout tracks for me and one that would remain lurking in Martin’s live repertoire for at least the next two decades. The rhythmic, percussive guitar and incessant chorus would have made a striking single if released at the time.

The label and sleeve are both based closely on known Deram Records examples from around the period, with just a couple of embellishments to the sleeve for the sake of detail. The Gama Records logo appears for the first time on one of these labels.


The Devil and the Feathery Wife (1982) Topic Records
Taken from the album ‘Out Of The Cut’ 12TS426Fake Single - TDATFW82There is an actual Martin Carthy solo single between the last example and this. ‘The Bonny Lass of Anglesey’ was released in limited numbers in 1976 to promote his first album for Topic Records so there’s a bit of a gap before we get to this final ‘fake’ example from Martin’s final solo album of the pre-CD era. This is a song that’s light-hearted yet hides a sobering maxim and there’s rarely a solo gig to this day that doesn’t end with it still.

The label is very closely based on the existing Topic label used for ‘The Bonny Lass of Anglesey’ in 1976 at least one other single release by Topic in the mid-70s. The sleeve is created from scratch and is loosely based on the colours, layout and typeface used on the rear cover of the original vinyl issue of the ‘Out Of The Cut’ album.


I hope you have as much fun scrutinising these as I had making them. I’ve tried to remain true to known releases from the relevant times on the respective labels but where this has not been feasibly I wanted to at least retain some of the period feel. As I said earlier in this post, this has just been a bit of fun so please don’t waste too much time trawling through eBay for copies of these or scouring YouTube for those elusive Top Of The Pops performances. Having said that, if anyone knows where I can pick up a copy of the fake singles box set will you give me the nod…? 😀


Carthy & Swarb 2017 Record Store Day release

9 April 2017

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 9 April 2017

No Songs RSD1

Fledg’ling Records will release a newly-remastered version of Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick’s rare 1967 EP “No Songs” for UK Record Store Day (RSD) on 22 April 2017. “No Songs” has been one of Carthy’s harder to find releases and this is the first time it has been reissued in its entirety since 1967. Only a couple of tracks have received limited release on CD.

image

The new version will feature a facsimile reproduction of the original front-laminated, flipback outer sleeve and a new inner sleeve illustrated with rare photographs. The limited edition 50th anniversary release commemorates the life of Carthy’s long-term musical partner Swarb, who died in 2016.

image

As with all RSD releases this will only be available to buy in person on 22 April at participating UK stores but unsold copies of previous RSD releases from both Fledg’ling and Topic Records have been made available to buy online shortly after the actual day.

VIEW “No Songs” in DISCOGRAPHY


Martin Carthy: “The Bonny Lass of Anglesey”

2 October 2016

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 2 October 2015

Here’s another video of the Crosley Cruiser record player. This is the single version of “The Bonny Lass of Anglesey” from 1976.

Martin Carthy: Vocals, guitar
Tony Cox: Synthesiser

Trad/Arr. Carthy

7″ single
b/w
Palaces of Gold

Released in the UK 1976 by Topic Records STOP 7002

Also on the album “Crown Of Horn
First released in the UK 1976 by Topic Records 12TS300


Martin and Eliza’s “Record Store Day” release

23 February 2014

Posted by Kevin Boyd, 23 February 2014

It’s been a busy week for Topic Records at the BBC Folk Awards: as well as Martin and Eliza using the occasion to debut a number of songs from their forthcoming duo album, another Topic act The Full English performed at Wednesday night’s ceremony and received awards for Best Group and Best Album. In the middle of all this Topic announced that Martin and Eliza would feature on the label’s 2014 UK Record Store Day release with a 7″ single of “Happiness” due on 19 April.

Happiness single cover

2014 will be the seventh UK Record Store Day and Topic have previously participated with releases by June Tabor & Oyster Band (2012) and Davy Graham (2013). These were exclusively available in physical format as limited runs of 1000 copies on 7″ vinyl from participating stores on the day of release with remaining copies being made available via Topic’s website at later dates. Digital versions can be downloaded via iTunes.

It’s safe to assume that the release of “Happiness” will follow the same format. This will be the first available track from Martin and Eliza’s new album “The Moral of the Elephant” as the 19 April release date will be some six weeks before the album is issued on 2 June. As yet there has been no announcement on the single’s B-side(s) or catalogue number but I would expect the latter to follow recent patterns and be assigned STOP2014. More detail to follow as and when it becomes available.

Edit : 24 February
Topic Records posted the following response:
“Martin & Eliza’s RSD single will have the catalogue number STOP2587.
We will shortly be announcing our other Record Store Day release which will have the catalogue number STOP2014…..
Best wishes
Topic Records”

VIEW “Happiness” in DISCOGRAPHY

Read my review of Topic’s 2013 Record Store Day release (also available here)

Recording “The Moral of the Elephant”


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